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Benjamin Moswane

2021 Intern

The collection, processing and banking of biomaterial are some of Benjamin Moswane’s tasks as a Biobank intern with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). He is based in Pretoria at the National Zoological Gardens, also known as the Pretoria Zoo.

His job entails collecting samples from both wild and zoo-based animals and correctly storing the associated data for use in research. The samples range from blood, tissue and hair to feathers, skin and scales. Many of the animals he works with are either endangered or threatened.
Benjamin is excited that his role enables access to a pool of data that contributes to the conservation of South Africa’s wildlife.

He has an advanced diploma in Biotechnology which he obtained from the University of Johannesburg. We were interested to know more about his aspirations as one of WWF’s interns, so we asked him a few questions:

What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about learning. I always want to learn something new and hence I plan to continue with my biotechnology studies and pursue a career as a research scientist.  My other passion is being involved in community work. I was part of an education non-profit organisation called the Mamelodi Initiative which offers tutoring during the school holidays to children who live in the Pretoria township of Mamelodi.

What inspired your choice of study?
I always wanted to obtain a science qualification. However, I was not sure which science degree to pursue, until I came across something in my high school Life Sciences textbook that was about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). From then on, I knew I wanted to study Biotechnology.

What excites you about your internship?
I am excited because this is an opportunity for me to grow both on a professional and personal level. Working with the conservation of animals is refreshing and fulfilling as I know that I am making meaningful contributions for generations to come.

What are your expectations of this internship?
I want to learn more about biodiversity conservation and gain knowledge about the process of biobanking natural materials and the different preservation methods used. Furthermore, I’d like to practice different laboratory techniques.

What contribution do you hope to make towards a future in which people and nature thrive?
I want to use my biotechnology skills to contribute to the conservation of our country’s unique biodiversity. For instance, there are a lot of viral and bacterial diseases that affect wild animals and, to some extent, threaten their existence. These diseases may include Rabies and Ebola. They can sometimes be detrimental to even human health. I want to be involved in veterinary vaccine development research to counteract the spread of these diseases and many others that may be transmitted to humans.
I also want to be involved in the production of vaccines for animals used for food, such as chickens, pigs and cattle. The eradication of these infectious illnesses will increase the quality of life, and nature and people will thrive.

Who inspires you the most and why?
My mother is my biggest inspiration. Although she did not go to school herself, she made sure that she instilled the importance of education in me. I can surely say that I am this far in my career because of my mother and most importantly, her prayers.

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